South Africa captain Bavuma reacts to Quinton de Kock’s refusal to take a knee

South Africa captain Temba Bavuma has revealed that Quinton de Kock 's decision to withdraw from their T20 World Cup clash against the West Indies over his refusal to take a knee left the side feeling "taken aback".

Cricket South Africa issued a directive on Monday, requiring all their players to take a knee for the remainder of the tournament to illustrate their "united and consistent stance against racism".

However, De Kock refused to take a knee and did not play in the game, which South Africa won by eight wickets.

It had initially been announced that he missed the game for 'personal reasons' but CSA later confirmed that he refused to support the collective stance of the team, in a statement which read: "Cricket South Africa has noted the personal decision by South African wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock not to "take the knee" ahead of Tuesday's game against the West Indies.

"All players had been required, in line with a directive of the CSA Board on Monday evening, to "take the knee" in a united and consistent stance against racism."

Bavuma, the first black African to ever be permanently-appointed South Africa captain, said after the match: "We as a team were surprised and taken aback by the news.

"Quinton is a big player for the team, not only with the bat but also the role he plays from an experience point of view.

"Not having that at my disposal as a captain was obviously not something I was looking forward to.

"In saying that, Quinton is an adult. He’s a man in his own shoes. We respect his decision, we respect his convictions.

"I don't think it is as simple as taking the knee. We have to appreciate the fact that we live in a country like South Africa, that has its own past.

"That is diverse in its views and in the way people see things, their backgrounds, things that we support.

"As much as we are a team, we wear the same shirt, we play for the badge. But outside of that, we live our own lives and those lives are different by the very nature that we live in South Africa.

"For me, I’ve learnt to appreciate it a lot more, try to widen your own perspective as an individual and not expect people to see the things the way I see things.

"If there is a disagreement in terms of beliefs, that’s why we have those hard conversations."

During South Africa's recent tour of the West Indies, players were asked to either take a knee or raise a fist in support of anti-racism.

The only player to refuse to do either gesture was De Kock, who instead stood with both hands behind his back.

When asked to explain his stance, De Kock said: "My reason? I'll keep it to myself. It's my own, personal opinion. It's everyone's decision; no-one's forced to do anything, not in life. That's the way I see things."

In the governing body's statement from earlier on Tuesday, Cricket South Africa added: "After considering all relevant issues, including the freedom of choice of players, the Board had made it clear it was imperative for the team to be seen taking a stand against racism, especially given SA’s history.

"The Board's view was that while diversity can and should find expression in many facets of daily lives, this did not apply when it came to taking a stand against racism.

"The Board will await a further report from team management before deciding on the next steps. All players are expected to follow this directive for the remaining games of the World Cup."

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